In August I found the Show off your Followers function for Blogspot.
By enabling it, you can choose to display the people who read and follow your blog as well as follow your own favourite Blogspot blogs through the handy reading list feature on the blogger dashboard - which itself feeds into Google Reader. A very handy way of staying in touch with what people are writing about.
nosy curious as I am, I wanted to find out a bit more about the people following me and spread a little bit of link love in the process. Some I was familiar with, some I visited for the first time tonight. So, in no particular order we have:
Jennifer from Paws For Thought. Jennifer is blind and writes her blog as "an online diary of training and working with my first guide dog O.J." who she got in June of 2007. By doing this, she says,
"I hope to talk to new people, hear their experiences, and help educate others about the importance of guide dogs in the lives of blind and visually impaired people."Her blog is far from being 'just' a blind blog though. She has an exuberant passion for music, as evidenced by all the gigs she goes to, which is how she met Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from Swell Season, above. I loved reading OJ's first blog post - his experiences of helping Jennifer around. Aslo, if you have any ideas for fundraising to help raise the €38,000 it costs to fund one guide dog, let her know here.
Jennifer is a great example to me of how someone makes the most of what they have rather than worrying about what they haven't. Her blog is always an interesting read.
Hope from The Road Less Travelled. Hope is from Southern Carolina and is interested in
"People's stories. Who are you? How'd you get to be that way? Are you happy or is there something you want to change?"Her blog is a lovely mix of memories (this recent post is fantastic), personal admissions and questions about the way things are done. I enjoy the detail in her posts - it's a real glimpse into her life.
Tony is possibly my oldest follower at 252, or so he claims. He's from Yorkshire and blogs on ßench which is a comprehensive collection of photos, videos and memories. I hadn't known what Spike Milligan's grave looked like until I saw his post on it.
I've been reading Susan's Stony River Farm blog for a while now. She's got a new look for the new year on her blog about "fiction writing, disability and rustic living and occasionally a bit of silliness". This recent post of hers called Sorry kids has been my favourite. Read on past the below:
"Suddenly, I snapped. Just snapped.I didn't know until today that she has another blog called This Irish Photograph, which an album of her family journeys and experiences. I like this photo:
"THAT'S IT," I said, on the day before Christmas Eve. "I'm sick of it all." "I'm not cooking Christmas dinner," I said, "and I'm doing no more shopping, no more decorating, no more baking, no more ANYTHING."
They looked at me. "Don't I deserve a holiday too?" I said. "There's nothing you can say to change my mind," I said. "I'm cancelling Christmas." And I did".
Another name I've become familiar with is Stephen Spillane. He's blogging on Stephen Spillane's My Opinion which as he says is where he spouts "on about many things from Eurovision to Politics". Check out his recent blog posts on his best of 2008 - Jan to March, April to June and July to December to get a real sense of what he's about. His tips for new bloggers are also well worth a read.
Another Stephen following me is Stephen Neill, an Anglican priest in the diocese of Limerick & Killaloe. He blogs on PaddyAnglican about politics, happenings in his village of Cloughjordan and Moneygall - he's a big Obama fan - I believe he's singing on the Barack O'Bama song - and sometimes on things like the horse at the end of a rainbow. I'd bet for that horse too, Stephen!
Vladimir is a mathematician in Dublin and blogs on Etre moral, etre sincere. Hie blog is a record of the things he does and sees, what's going on in his life and some rather odd things he finds online. His tongue twister post has me talking about plucking pheasants very carefully.
Though we've never met I feel like I know MJ for ages. A frequent commenter, her blog at Shadows at Sunset is a mix of ideas that suddenly occur to her, things she's been thinking about and practical tips on approaching banks, creating a business plan and doing some market research. If you're starting a business, they're well worth a read.
Ken Armstrong is a guy I have a lot of respect for. With an enviable writing resume to his credit, his blog, Ken Armstrong Writing Stuff is a mix of random thoughts, personal musings and then posts like this one that made me pause for a long while afterwards. This one though made me laugh out loud.
Russell Anderson of Russells Random Thoughts is following me. I like his choice of URL - "random thinking of a pseudo genius". A starting blogger with 3 posts to his credit so far, his most recent - Homo/Hetero sexual.. big deal starts with :
My name is Russell and I have a boyfriend. Yes Russell is a male name and you read that right, I'm gay. How do you feel about that?I'm looking forward to reading more from Russell this year.
Emerging Writer, as you can imagine, blogs about writing. She seems to keep her finger on the pulse of every writing competition and magazine submission procedure going and seems to have had a very productive year.
It's her other blog, Poems In the Waiting Room that grabbed my attention though. It seems this is part of a new project in Co. Kildare to provide poetry leaflets for waiting rooms all over the county.
"Initially these are doctor's surgeries, hospitals and libraries, places the public has to wait. The waiting room is the one place that at some point, everyone has to pause. It is a room full of strangers that levels us and where we have a chance to reflect."One of my own favourite poems is Leigh Hunt's Jenny Kissed Me. You can read some of the history here or download a PDF of the poem here. Some of the other poems included are Emily Dickinson's Hope and Robert Louis Stevenson's Bed in Summer.
(Yes, this is a very long post.)
I'm a big Cloudsteph fan, and not just because she bought me drink at the Web Awards. I've been following her on Twitter for a while and she always delivers interesting links, funny videos and we share a bemused horror of the inappropriate. She's a person I'm glad to have met.
Cleo's blog at Rosin Dubh is a very honest, sometimes harsh and unforgiving look at her life and herself. I find her blog challenging to read sometimes, being at a loss of words on how to respond. Take for example her post on fertility and sperm. Or indeed her post on pubic hair.
That's not to say she's trying to be controversial. It's just honesty. Her train station story made me gasp, while her finger lengths post is a nice wee bit of research. The blog has only been live since October so I'd imagine there are other great stories that Cleo has to share.
Kate West writes reviews. In fact this LA lady has an extensive theatrical background and has been reviewing plays, musicals, one-acts, improv, comedy sketch and much more since 2003. From Tony Award winning plays straight from Broadway - Spring Awakening - to Jane Austen based plays to Newgrange Falconry, a family business based in Meath, Kate writes with an enthusiasm that is just a bit contagious. Visiting her blog guarantees a surprise every time.
Quickroute is another of those names I'm familiar with. His blog Paddy in Buenos Aires is as it sounds - the experiences, thoughts and musings of an Irish Ex-patriat now living in Argentina. The seven part odyssey he began in August - the Irish Rover - is a great way to get to know this irascible personality. Also illuminating is his about page, showing he's visited an impressive 338 cities in 51 countries. You can also read what he's been watching on Argentinian TV. Eye opening stuff.
I have to admit, when I saw the username bbbbbbbbich in the list, I assumed it was probably a spam blog. But no, Becky's blog - love moondust peace - is her little corner of the internet where she shares her thoughts on her experiences in Houston, Texas with her friends, family and more. Her last post was December 31 and I'd love to know what the acronym(?) iohasfdiohweiufh is about.
I'm hoping Shelley comes back to add more to her promising blog, New Media and the Virgin Blogger. It fed directly into the conversations and discussions for the Arts Council New Media seminar recently and what she's trying to do sounds very interesting indeed.
"I am also looking at how Arts organisations in Ireland could mazimise their potential by utilising You Tube, Flickr, Blogger.com and the many other sources of new media.. and how little Arts organisations actually take advantage of what is right at their fingertips."
I just love the header image for Inner Kook art. I just had a look at her post about drawing as a child which again makes me question how much thought we as adults tend to put into what we say to children. I've also found her Life Purpose Project blog which looks like it could be come something interesting.
"If you think you understand gammagoblin, you don't understand gammagoblin". How very true. The blogger for the 2008 Cork Jazz Festival has his own blog over on Riemann's Cut. How can I describe it? Geeky? Well the posts about the particle accelarators, the no-humans-inside boxes and his takes on iGoogle, Google Reader and Apple all suggest so.
But there's music posts in there too, along with a thermal imaging one and a well researched piece comparing Obama to the Antichrist. It's a bit of a free-for-all I guess - almost impossible to predict what will come next - and it's all the better for it.
"Tall tales of the little Elf in big Amsterdam" is how Clair describes her blog, Elf in Amsterdam. She hasn't updated in a while, but I guess her recent trip home to Dublin is reason enough for that, not to mention how active she is on Twitter. I can thank Clair for introducing me to Maeve Clancy's Flatmates the comic though, one of my regular graphic stops.
Anna Lally's name is one I've come across a couple of times and I'm delighted to find that she's the person behind the Irish Media Women blog. Anna is hoping to see the blog and network develop as "a space for shared ideas, wisdom, learning and opportunities".
She already points to some interesting links and workshops, but as with any ambitious project, could do with some help. You can find out more here. I think 2009 could see Anna connect with a lot of people out there who will be able to contribute.
And to the final two - retrobates who happen to be personal friends as well as followers.
I was asked to describe Maxi Cane's blog recently and the first word that came to mind was unapologetic. Creative, funny, shocking, obscene and DURTY all came to mind immediately afterwards but readers of this blog need to go in eyes wide open knowing they could find anything in there.
Maxi is of course the mastermind behind the group stories we've been involved in. He's also king of the bad pun. The rest of his posts are, by and large, pure filth - though not, let it be said, to intentionally disturb - it's just the way his mind works and you can quickly come to accept that. The kind you'd never write but relish reading.
The word "succulent" comes to mind. They're even funnier - if that's possible - when read on the Odeo reader he has on the site. Go on, have a go. You'll see.
And then of course there's himself. Darren should probably update it. When he does it will no doubt be with adventures, reviews, findings, thoughts and reactions to the world around him. A bit like my blog tries to be, only shorter and better. Different in a good way.
There you go. Followers all. Thanks for following people, hope you're finding something here you're interested in. If you haven't already done so, have a think about clicking below and telling us
find out more about following here. There are some brilliant blogs and lovely people out there waiting to be found.